Jessie has a way of asking me questions that send me off to bed thinking.  As we sat in our living room eating our dinner last night she commented that I seemed more settled here, not so much the waltzing mouse that I tend to be at home.  “What is it” she said,  ” why are you so relaxed here, sleep well and long, and are more able to just “be” and not always doing something?”  I don’t express my feelings as well as she but I thought about her question and wondered myself how I could find peace in such a sad place and I have not come up with any seismic or cosmic  answers.  But I thought about it long and hard in the middle of the night.

There is a certain freedom in not having “stuff” or “things.”  There is no television on which to see the News or even a radio.  We don’t have a car so there is no need to go to the carwash or to have it inspected.   I don’t go off to Harris Teeter or Fresh Market if my fridge is looking spare.  I’ve wondered how I would cope without my computer and as Jessie mentioned we may well be without any day now.  This freedom encourages us to look at choices, for as Jessie reminded me this morning when we got up that I make the choice to go to the carwash or to the market or the dry cleaners or the choice to lie down in the  middle of the afternoon and read a book, something I rarely if ever do at home.  We Americans are fortunate to have so many choices or are we?  If I go to the market I have a choice of red peppers, green peppers, and yellow peppers and believe me I enjoy them all.  Here, we go to the duka (roadside stand) and have no choice ~ here they have tiny green peppers so you buy them and cook them and they taste the same as a huge bell pepper at home.  So far the best answer I can come up with to her question is that I have fewer distractions here.  I’m focused on the day at hand, and also focused on making the best of whatever comes my way.  I’ve listened long and hard to every prayer offered here by students and priests ~ not once have I heard a shopping list of things they want.  They are always prayers of thanksgiving.  Of course, they pray for the sick and rain or not rain, depending on the season, but ALWAYS they thank God for the day, the meeting, the fellowship and on and on.  So, I have fewer distractions here which lends a certain quietness and  peace to my life. 

This obviously is a  subject I have not come to terms with, but for some unknown reason, I find it freeing not to give much thought to what I will wear (I have only a couple of outfits here), what we are going to have to eat (bread, beans, rice or pasta with sauteed tomatoes, peppers, and onions).  Perhaps we have gone over the top in material possessions and yet I am so very grateful for our medical facilities and our well-trained doctors.  I’m grateful that I do not have to worry about my children not having food, clean water or medicine if they need it.  Sandy McCann often uses the word “tension.”  That is where I am and I suppose we just hold that tension.

Perhaps my peace is coming from fewer distractions in our daily lives.